When a person experiences a car accident they’re usually in shock, and oftentimes they forget what needs to be done. Maybe having a simple rule in your mind like “Call your lawyer!” would do you good. Of course, the first thing would be to call 911 even if there are no injured people, and always seek medical attention. Remember, injuries and traumas might come later on.
Below are some of the simplest things one should remember to do after experiencing a car accident.
Ensure everyone is safe and call your lawyer
The first thing you should do after being involved in a car accident would be to make sure everyone is safe. Look around and see whether you should move your vehicle to the side of the road, and use cones, or other indicators to draw attention to vehicles that are stuck on the road. In case you’re in an immobile vehicle, don’t forget to keep your seatbelt on and turn on your hazards. Never leave the scene of the accident, even if it’s a minor one.
If you live in California, bear in mind that it is known to have one of the worst safety rates in the US. So if you find yourself driving in some of its areas, like for example, Costa Mesa, and you experience an injury due to a car accident, it’s important to find a Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer to help you file a rightful personal injury claim. This claim will be filed against the liable party to compensate for your injuries that may have impacted not only your physical but also your mental health.
Document the scene
Before documenting the scene, always notify the police even if there are no injured participants since having a police report on file is essential if you have to use it in court. After calling 911, your lawyer, and ensuring everyone is fine, it’s time to start collecting evidence. First, take pictures of the vehicles and debris where the accident occurred.
Exchange contact and auto insurance information with the other driver, and make sure you never apologize or admit that you were wrong for what happened since this can hurt your chances if the case ends up in court. Wait patiently for your lawyer to tell you what to do next. You can also see whether any witnesses are willing to cooperate. After documenting everything at the scene, you can call a tow truck if needed.
Contact insurance company
The next step would be to call your insurance company to report the accident and note that it’s always better if you’re the first one to call on an accident rather than the other driver or drivers involved. Give your insurance provider all the information you’ve gathered about the accident so they can start to build the claim. Although some decide to negotiate a cash deal to avoid making an insurance claim, don’t forget that not notifying your insurance provider might leave you liable for damages stemming from the accident.
Car insurance is designed to protect you financially if ever you’re involved in a car accident. The collision coverage policy will cover damages to the car, while personal injury protection coverage or medical coverage, will help you cover the cost of any injuries that you might have sustained. The insurance company might assign an adjuster that will assess any damages or injuries to determine how much the insurer will pay.
Ask for a medical checkup
This is often neglected, especially if the people involved in the accident don’t experience some visible injuries. Although you may feel perfectly fine after the accident, always remember that injuries become apparent after a day or two. Whether it’s about spinal injuries or you may have sustained serious head injuries, always visit your doctor or ask for medical help right at the scene.
Note that injuries sustained from the accident are included in the car insurance claim, so it’s important to document any physical harm that you might have experienced from the accident. If you decide to visit the doctor after everything else is settled, make sure you do it within 72 hours of the accident because if you wait for more than that it might interfere with your insurance claim.
Although accidents are very stressful and you might be in shock, try to snap out of it and assess the situation correctly. Notify the police, and if you cannot calm yourself down, always call your lawyer first, and they will tell you what to do next. Take a deep breath and continue with a clear head since how you react can make or break your case.